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Making Network Decisions Today for an SDN Tomorrow

by Juniper Employee on ‎05-01-2013 09:00 AM

The way that networks are being built is changing. Server virtualization, overlay networking, and virtualized services in the network are  redefining the network. And maybe the most exciting opportunity – SDN – has the potential to accelerate change for the better, providing a much more agile IT infrastructure.  As organizations look to the future and the potential that SDN brings, they still need to make decisions to solve today’s challenges – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), data center consolidation and convergence, WAN utilization – and so how do they invest today while ensuring they protect their network investment for the future and can respond to these exciting changes when the time is right.  


At Juniper, our commitment to customers is that we will help you take advantage of the best technologies to evolve your networks at the right pace for your business and that we will provide investment protection so that whatever the future holds, you won’t have stranded capital.  To that end, there are some guiding principles that customers can use today, regardless of where they are in the SDN adoption curve, to maximize their network investment. We believe that simple, modular architectures provide better performance, that programmable systems allow you to meet future requirements and that the network should not limit how you implement components such as orchestration, overlay networks, and SDN controllers.


Simple, Modular Architectures Are Always Better

When SDN reaches its promise it will be critical to have agile and simple network architecture. If your core network devices can’t meet the challenge of future requirements you will be starting over and that won’t be good on your balance sheet, to your users, or your team. It will also starve you of resources you need to innovate in your core business. The network doesn’t get any simpler than a design with one switch to manage and any-to-any connectivity; this is what we call a true fabric architecture. Here’s what to look for as you’re evaluating your data center networking decisions today:


  1. A flat, any-to-any architecture with one logical switch to manage - regardless of the size of your data center deployment. A simplified network architecture matters because your multi-tiered web enabled applications rely on the throughput, and lower latency of a fabric to deliver the best end-user experience.  And even in an SDN world, you don’t want to provision, manage, and troubleshoot dozens or hundreds of devices.
  2. A robust Layer 3 implementation in the fabric – Layer 3 is better than Layer 2 for flexibility in adjusting to topology changes, for efficiency in converged networks, and for working around network outages.
  3. A holistic approach to network services including security – both physical and virtual – that uses high performance systems for throughput and survivability, deft software management (cloud approaches) and service chaining to optimize the security posture.

Programmable Systems Protect your Future

Programmable systems allow you to engage with multiple orchestration systems, use multiple SDN protocols, and get the best from technology today and tomorrow. There are a number of protocols that are emerging as standards – OpenFlow, VXLAN, NVGRE, and PCE to name a few.  Each has specific strengths. You want to be able to use any or all of them for what they do best. And frankly, we don’t know which ones will “win the day” as SDN evolves.  So you want to look at your network elements and ensure that they have current or committed support for a variety of protocols and that adding new and yet-to-be-developed protocols in the future won’t require a painful swap out of your hardware.  To make this possible your network architecture should support you with elements such as:


  1. Programmable network platforms with high logical scale (e.g.: Juniper’s EX9200 switches and MX Series routers) that can handle the demands of terminating high volumes of connections and that run a common operating system that has been built to solve hard problems to enable you to deploy solutions broadly.
  2. Programmable ASICs (e.g.: Trio from Juniper) that can provide the level of performance and power efficiency needed along with extensible programmability to work seamlessly with topology-aware protocols like OpenFlow, PCE, and BGP.
  3. Systems should be flexible enough to support Network Function Virtualization and leverage the cloud wherever possible.
  4. Your network OS should support direct programmability as well as multiple SDN protocols and interfaces to provide the maximum flexibility including:  OpenFlow, VXLAN, NVGRE, PCE, OpenStack plug-ins.
  5. Systems should provide analytics that expose critical data and insight to tools that can use the data to tune the network. This is critical as you think about harnessing big data to focus the Enterprise business or to drive new Service Provider revenue opportunities.

The Network Should Not Force Your Hand on Other Important IT Decisions

Potentially the biggest mistake you could make with a promising new technology is to lock yourself in before you know what will be right for you in the longer term. As you’re making decisions now, you can optimize how your network will play with your current infrastructure, or you can optimize for what you think shows promise for the future.  Would you rather be able to choose a path that does both? For this to happen you need to maintain as much flexibility as possible. Here are some considerations.


  1. If you use VMWare, Juniper has a compelling solution, from a jointly developed application to manage physical and virtual resources in Junos Virtual Control, to committed support for virtual network protocols like VXLAN and gateway solutions to provide an on-ramp between physical and virtual networks. 
  2. If you’re in the OpenStack camp, you’ll want integration with your networking equipment so that you can automate critical infrastructure configuration tasks like assigning ports and VLANs, so Juniper has integrated with OpenStack to provide the functionality that you will need.
  3. If you’re a fan of some of the OpenFlow controllers such as NOX, or BigSwitch’s Floodlight, we have OpenFlow on our switches and routers and have validated interoperability with some of the leading OpenFlow controllers over the past year.
  4. If you want a complete solution for an overlay network, you won’t have to wait long for our Contrail controller, which will work hand-in-hand with our Junos Space Network Management suite, as well as our routing, switching, and security hardware.

We Are In It for the Long Run Together

At Juniper we make investments for the long run, just like you do. We want to ensure that your investment with Juniper will allow your network to serve your organization well into the future. We want to ensure that you can use the best protocols and that your network will support the emerging technologies that you choose, such as overlay networks and SDN. We want to ensure that your network will provide the performance and integration with emerging technologies that is necessary for a complete solution that will serve your business goals. The time to start considering how changes in technology will impact your network purchases is now. It can start by having a conversation with Juniper.  For more information contact your account manager or see this link.


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About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • I am an experienced leader in the Information Experience (iX) industry. For over 20 years, I've led information organizations at Juniper, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle to deliver quality technical documentation and information products to customers and partners across the globe.
  • Bob Dix currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. During his career, he has served in senior leadership roles in industry and government, including serving as Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census during the 108th Congress. He represents Juniper on the Industry Executive Point of Contact for the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee ( NSTAC ), where he chaired the Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force in 2009. He served as Chair of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council ( IT SCC ) from 2008 – 2010 and currently remains a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Dix was elected in May, 2011 as Chair of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security ( PCIS ). He also serves on the National Security Task Force for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the AFCEA Cyber Security Committee and Chairs the Supply Chain Assurance Subcommittee for TechAmerica. Additionally, Dix has actively worked to insure and coordinate private sector participation and collaboration with the National Exercise Program, intended to test our nation’s preparedness and resiliency. He served as Chair of the National Private Sector Working Group for National Level Exercise 2011 and 2010. In 2007 and 2009, Dix was honored with a prestigious Federal 100 Award, and was recognized in March, 2010 as the recipient of the annual FCW Industry Eagle Award. Dix also served as a local government elected official in Northern Virginia for 12 years and in his spare time coaches AAU/Travel girls basketball.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • Kevin Walker is the Security Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper’s Development and Innovation (JDI) organization. He is responsible for driving the security strategy both internally within Juniper, and externally with investors, partners, influencers, and customers. He provides the guidance required for JDI to conceive, develop and create momentum for industry-leading security solutions. Working closely with the Security Engineering team, Walker identifies the opportunities for improved security, growth, and innovation to deliver the scalable, reliable, and compliant security architecture needed in today’s security landscape. Before joining Juniper, Walker was VP and Assistant Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at He has served as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Security Strategist and Director of Information Security across a number of notable companies including Intuit, Cisco, Symantec and VERITAS Software. With over twenty-five years in various computer science and information technology disciplines, focusing on enterprise applications, network design, and information security, Walker possesses research and engineering expertise across of range of technologies including networking protocols, securing applications at the atomic level, cryptography, and speech biometrics.
  • As Juniper’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Line Management, Kevin Hutchins is responsible for defining and enabling Juniper’s strategy from company vision into product execution. This includes driving the company’s inorganic growth through strategic partnerships, venture investments and acquisitions/divestitures. In addition, he is responsible for driving key strategic imperatives, including Juniper’s software strategy and transformation. Hutchins joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Portfolio Management & Business Operations for Juniper’s Development & Innovation team where he led business planning, portfolio rationalization, new product introduction and execution of strategic programs across Juniper’s portfolio of routing, switching and security products.
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Masum Mir is Vice President of Product, Solutions & Technical Marketing at Juniper Networks. Masum is responsible for the Switching product line, network management product line and optical technologies. Beside product leadership Masum also leads cloud strategy and solution architecture. Masum has 19 years of experience in communication and data networking industry with Expertise in Ethernet Switching, Data Center, Carrier Ethernet, Routing, overlay & network segmentation, Fabric technology & photonics technology.
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Pradeep Sindhu founded Juniper Networks in February 1996, and has held several central roles in shaping the company. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for the company's technical roadmap as well as day-to-day design and development of future products. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for eight months when he founded the company. During that time, he played a central role in the architecture, design, and development of the M40 router.
  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Rahim was appointed CEO in November 2014. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee No. 32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first breakthrough product, the M40 core router. Rahim has progressed through a series of technical and leadership roles at Juniper, applying his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s industry-leading product portfolio. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI) organization, overseeing the company’s entire product and technology portfolio. His responsibilities included driving strategy, development and business growth for routing, switching, security, silicon technology, and the Junos operating system. Other leadership positions held over the years include: Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, Senior Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), and Vice President and General Manager of EABU.
  • As Chief Customer Officer, Vince Molinaro is responsible for driving the strategic and operational elements of the Sales, Marketing, Partners, Services and Support functions at Juniper Networks. He leads a global organization of more than 3,500 professionals that includes direct and indirect sales, systems engineering, advanced technologies and field operations. Molinaro brings more than 25 years of professional experience in engineering, product management, marketing, sales and operations to his worldwide role. He joined Juniper in 2009 and led the strategy and go-to-market execution for the company’s global service provider business. He was named EVP, Worldwide Sales in 2013 before assuming his current role in February 2014. Prior to joining Juniper, Molinaro held senior leadership positions at a number of technology companies including Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Internap Network Services. He has extensive domestic and international experience having lived and managed large organizations throughout Europe and the U.S. Molinaro holds a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from University of Bridgeport. He is based out of the Juniper Networks facility in New Jersey, home of OpenLab, The Junos and SDN Center for Innovation.
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